Eating American Style

For this week’s experiment in ye olde cooking, I took a few pages out of the American Woman’s Cook Book. In fact, I made one of the book’s suggested dinner menus, and might I say, ick. Top to bottom, ick. Keep in mind, I eat all of the recipes I make here. Unfortunately for him, so does my husband. Let’s just dive right in, shall we?

Salmon Loaf

Please, I took the least offensive menu I could. Don’t judge, but yes, I made a salmon loaf.

  • 2 C cooked salmon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ C soft bread crumbs (up until now I hadn’t realized that bread crumbs came in multiple versions… I just used the stuff I had in the pantry… soft, hard, I don’t know)
  • ¼ C butter, melted (in my ye olde microwave)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 T minced parsley (didn’t have parsley, but I used about a teaspoon of dried dill)

Flake salmon and add beaten eggs. Add remaining ingredients and place in greased loaf pan. Bake in moderate oven (350°F) 40 minutes. Serve with egg sauce.

There was no recipe for egg sauce in this cookbook. And, if I had thought about it, I would have made the sauce I put on top of the eggs in the Latin meal. But, I did not. Instead, I diced a few hard-boiled eggs, mixed with vinegar and white sauce and called it a night.


Salmon Loaf

It tasted drier than it looks.

Dry, uninspired and quite dull. Like meat loaf, but without the meaty goodness. Isn’t that sad? This is worse than meatloaf AND it made my oven smell like fish.

Creamed Peas

Offered as a side dish for the loaf above.

  • 2 C cooked peas
  • 1 C medium white sauce

Mix peas with white sauce. Reheat and serve.


Peas in white sauce

Gooey, but with peas

As Paul said, “It tastes like peas in white.” I hate peas and made this dish specifically for Paul as he loves the little green buggers. Poor Paul, he has a lot of pea in white to eat.

Mashed Potatoes

  • 6 medium-sized potatoes
  • Hot milk or cream
  • 2 T butter
  • Salt and white pepper

Pare and boil the potatoes. Drain, and set the saucepan in a warm place with the cover off for a minute or two to dry the potatoes thoroughly. Turn them out into a warm dish and put through the ricer into the same saucepan. Work quickly so that they will not get cold. Add the butter, season to taste, and beat, adding milk or cream a little at a time until the potatoes are light and moist.


Mashed potatoes in a bowl

Mashed potatoes--just like everyone makes.

These are mashed potatoes—as classic as they get. And, about the only thing that I liked in this disastrous dinner.

Coconut, Celery and Apple Salad

  • 1½ C mixed diced tart apples and celery
  • ½ C shredded coconut
  • 1 T lemon-juice (their hyphen, not mine)
  • 4 T oil
  • 4 T orange-juice
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Currant or plum jelly

Mix the apples, celery, and coconut. Sprinkle with the lemon-juice. Add a French dressing made from the oil and orange-juice, with salt and paprika to taste. Line a salad bowl with lettuce leaves and pile chilled salad in center. Dot with currant or plum jelly.


Apples, celery and coconut flakes in a bowl

Check out that paprika action!

Let’s talk about this weirdness. I went with the traditional definition of a French dressing (vinaigrette) because the thought of putting a ketchup-based dressing over apples made me a little ill. But, then I got to paprika and I felt a bit ill anyway. Paprika on fruit—how very Hungarian. Putting it on lettuce leaves seemed like a waste of perfectly fine lettuce. And, then there’s the jelly. Really? Jelly? It was a moot point anyway. I dare you to find currant or plum jelly at your local store.

Banana Cream Pie

  • 1½ C milk
  • ¼ C sugar
  • ¼ t salt
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T butter
  • ½ t vanilla
  • 1 baked pastry shell
  • Whipped cream
  • 4 ripe bananas

Scald 1 C milk over boiling water. Mix sugar, salt, flour and remaining milk together. Stir into hot milk and cook slowly until thickened, stirring constantly. Cover and cook over boiling water for 5 minutes. Add mixture slowly to egg yolk and cook 1 minute longer. Add butter and vanilla. Cool. Pour into pastry shell and spread with whipped cream. Makes 1 (8-inch) pie.

For the banana version, fill pastry shell with alternate layers of sliced bananas and cooled filling.


Bananas and goo in a pie tin

Behold! Banana cream pie sans the cream. I am a world-class idiot on this one.

I used a pre-made, graham cracker pie crust. Because it was a 9-inch crust, I was worried about having enough filling. But no worries, the bananas take up quite a bit of room. I don’t think you need to use four bananas unless you find that you have rather small bananas. Lesson learned: Even if you think you have cream to make whipped cream, check in the fridge before starting to make dinner. Banana cream pie without the whipped topping is just a bit sad, isn’t it?

So, let’s review. Salmon loaf was a waste of salmon. Creamed peas were just gross. Mashed potatoes were eh. The fruit salad was a conglomeration of bizarre foodstuffs. Banana cream pie really needs the cream. Paul’s review: “Good thing it was mostly edible because I think there’s going to be leftovers.” Mostly edible. Exactly what any chef wants to hear.

Dinner on a plate

Eating American style (and, yes that bit that looks like bread is a salmon loaf... never again!). We sure do like our dairy products.


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  1. #1 by Andrea Ficara Willard on 2.1.2011 - 6:28 pm

    Your comment about the Currant Jelly made me laugh! Its true that it is getting trickier to find. Smuckers isn’t making it anymore or something. Growing up (and even now) our Favorite Christmas dish involves a mixture of Currant Jelly and yellow mustard. Yes, Really. It’s an appetizer. I swear its super good! It’s the sauce/marinade for lil’ smokey sausages and mini hot dogs (you know the little cocktail size). Anyway, had trouble finding the jelly this year. Its kinds of a big deal for this receipe as there are only four ingredients. That’s it. You are right. The jelly is hard to find unless it’s really a snobby brand.

    • #2 by e.marie on 2.3.2011 - 9:02 am

      i LOVE lil’ smokies! (but, i love anything miniature)… perhaps, you could jar your own? 😉 just “put up” some jellies like our grandmothers!

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